RNA Groups
at the
University of Michigan

Nils Walter    

Associate Professor of Chemistry, Biophysics Research Division, Chemical Biology, Applied Physics, Cellular & Molecular Biology Programs


Our group's goal is to understand the biological function of the vast new universe of non-protein coding RNAs, or non-coding RNAs. In us humans, non-protein coding RNAs outnumber protein-coding mRNAs by several-fold and are involved in all aspects of the processing and regulation of genetic information. Non-coding RNAs comprise, for example, catalytic RNAs, such as the hammerhead, hairpin, Varkud satellite and hepatitis delta virus ribozymes with potential use in human gene therapy and relevance to human disease; small interfering (si)RNAs and micro(mi)RNAs involved in the eukaryotic defense against viruses and in high-level gene regulation; riboswitches responsible for gene regulation in bacteria and attractive as targets for novel antibiotics; and large RNA-protein complexes central to the processing of genetic information, such as the ribosome and the spliceosome. In the Walter group, we employ state-of-the-art biophysical tools, in particular ensemble and single molecule fluorescence techniques as well as molecular dynamics simulations, to study the biological function of all of these non-coding RNAs in vitro and in living cells. Graduate students acquire a broad set of interdisciplinary skills with relevance to human disease, high-throughput screening and biosensor applications.   For more information please see: http://www.umich.edu/~rnapeopl



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